I ringed Mamma and knew from her voice something was up.
“How are you?” I asked.
“I am fine,” she answered.
“What are you doing?”
The conversation was not unfolding as it normally did. Something was off. Mamma is the one who talks and I am the one who listens. What was going on?
Oh right, I remember. This morning I texted dad that I was planning to visit Pakistan and that if Farhan calls him, he should not pick up.
Because Mr.Farhan always makes the situation worse. When he is shouting at me, he talks shit about me and my parents but when he rings them up he is the sweetest and kindest son-in-law one could have.
At times I feel like he is more of a child to my parents than I am. They listen to him more, they agree with him more. They side with him more.
So well I had texted my dad and he knew as usual something was up with his trouble-causing-daughter and her marriage issues. And he obviously told mom, she must have been upset.
“So how’s Maleeha?” I ask her about my sister.
“She’s fine, she’s here today. Saad dropped her off today”
So I try to break the ice with a lighter topic and tell her about my plan of the day.
“So I am planning to go with my friends for shopping today. Do let me know if you need anything.”
And that kind of worked! She started asking the very obvious questions “which friends?” and I tell her the names of all “female” friends because that’s who I “should” and “can” hang out with.
And then there’s the ice berg, not the ice breaker. Somehow, some way, the conversation is suddenly wheeled in the direction everyone wishes to avoid.
“Mum, I want to come to Pakistan, I am missing all of you, I am so bored here!”
“Beta, yes come whenever you want but do check with your husband’s schedule and come when he says so. Be a good wife.”
I breathe out an in-audible long sign and mutter something under my breath.
“Just find some activity for yourself…..no actually stay at home and relax, look after the house,” she continues.
Oh I know very well where this conversation is going. So from past experiences, my mom knows that a working woman (i.e. when I was working) can cause “problems” for the house and for the sake of family, I’ll have to avoid it. (I will share details of that one in another post soon). So she quickly changed her suggestion from “outside activity” to “in house activity” and you have must have guessed where we are headed next. The topic of everyone’s interest, the one that you cannot shy away from, the one that will lurk around every corner of your life and jump on you.
So after 3 years of being unhappily arranged-married, my parents, my in-laws and my husband have been pressurizing me to have kids. Well thanks to the anti-depressants I am on, I cannot make kids yet.
But but kids can convert an un-happy marriage into a happy one. Right? WRONG!
If you are incompatible with your spouse, a new member of family is not going to magically change that incompatibility into an amazing level of understanding. That kid is going to make your relationship worse for you. You already lack understanding as a couple, how are you going to raise another human being in your house in such a stressful and unstable relationship?
Think about all the times your parents fought when you were young, how did it impact you mentally and psychologically? Yes you got it. You still remember those fights. They deeply disturbed you even today.
“No beta, I am telling you, I guarantee that if you leave these medications, nothing is going to happen to you and trust me you are going to manage the kids really well.”
I am shifting uncomfortably in my sofa, I am going through so many emotions at the moment.
Despair, helplessness, disbelief, sadness, anger
I know mental illnesses is not acknowledged in my society well and I was prepared for such a conversation but the sad part is I don’t know how to convince her. All I could come up with was this example:
“Mom…I understand what you are saying, could you please try to understand me too? Let’s take example of someone who has cancer, would you ask them to bear a child? Or that their cancer is “nothing” and that they should stop taking medication and nothing would happen to them? Mom…depression is just like that, just because you don’t physically see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And just because my symptoms are very much subdued due to medication doesn’t mean they won’t reappear if you put me through a situation that is beyond my capability at the moment.”
I make a wish in my heart that my “logic” could make sense to her.
“Ok. Alright….so what should we do now? What do you want? If you don’t want kids, what’s your purpose of staying in this marriage?”
I am flabbergasted. What the flubber? Seriously!
“Mom….let me come to Pakistan and we will discuss this in detail. I have to go right now.”
This can’t be done on the phone. Can’t be.
“Okay. Allah Hafiz (God be with you)”
We hang up. I am getting late for shopping. Once I am off the phone, all I want to think about is what I will shop today.